visit North Ethiopia, Danakil Depression, Harar 26 Days

Travel Ethiopia

Visit North Ethiopia, Danakil Depression, Harar

Itinerary

Program: History, Nature and Culture Tour

Tour Code: Combined Tour 08

Duration: 25 Nights (26 Days)

Transportation: Land (4WD)

Tour starts: Addis Ababa

Tour ends: Addis Ababa

Day1: Arrival/ Addis Ababa & City Tour of Addis Ababa

Arrive in the morning and transfer to your Hotel and after Breakfast, we drive to the Entoto Mountain (3300m) for a panoramic view of Addis, Entoto Museum with historical and royal exhibit, The Church of St. Mary, built in 1885 and the old palace of emperor MenelikII. Take some images at Mount Entoto and we drive back to Addis for Ethnological Museum that exhibits the culture and handicrafts of various Ethiopian ethnic groups, the National Museum in which you are visiting different archaeological findings (including Lucy’s replica Skeleton). After lunch, visit the Trinity Cathedral, Mausoleum of emperor MenelikII at Bààta Church and finally Merkato – the largest open market in Africa. Overnight – at chosen hotel – Addis Ababa

Day2: Langano. Drive from Addis Ababa to Langano (about200km best Asphalt Road)

 Check- in at your /lodge  Afternoon; Discover  the Rift Valley  of Abijata – Shalla Lakes National Park,  the Ostrich Farm, different species of Aquatic birds like the Pink Flamingos( enormous at Lake Abijata), Dukes, Gosse, and many others.  Overnight – at chosen lodge – Langano

Day3:  Awash National Park

Morning; drive from Langano to Awash National Park (254km best asphalt road).Photo Stop at Lake Beseka (Nearby the park) for several birdlife. Game view after having entrance tickets at the head office of the Awash National Park. Overnight – at chosen hotel/lodge – Awash Park

Day4:  Babile and the Valley of Marvels & the Walled City of Harar

Early morning; game view in the Awash National Park & drive to Babile (356km).  There are general Market on every Saturday, Camel Market on every Monday & Thursday at Babile. Visit the market if your schedule coincides with one of the market days otherwise proceed to the Valley of Marvels. The most visited one is the rock formation of Dakatta Rock, sited at 7km from the town of Babile. Drive back to Harar (30km). Overnight – at chosen hotel –Harar

Day5: the Walled City of Harar& Dire Dawa

Morning; visit the walled city of Harar and after lunch; drive about 51km for Dire Dawa. The main attraction of Dire Dawa known also as Queen City of the Rift Valley is: Taiwan Market, the stimulant leaf knows as “Chat or khat” Market and the big market place which is frequented by Oromo, Somali Issa and Afar people. Based on the current information, possible to visit the Laga Oda (Lega Oda) cave paintings considered to be painted 7thousand years ago (38km from Dire Dawa).  Overnight – at chosen hotel –Dire Dawa

Day6: Dire Dawa –Logia/Semera

Drive from Dire Dawa to Logia or Semera, crossing the Yangu Di Rassa National Park (in Afar Region) and Afar huts/ villages. Overnight – at chosen hotel – Logia/ Semera

Day7: Logia/ Semera – Afdera

Drive from Logia/ Semera to Afdera. Visit the salt lake – Afdera (in the town of Afdera). Overnight – at chosen hotel – Afdera

Day8: Afdera –Dodom (at the bottom of Arte Ale)

Drive on the desert sand to Waydodom -Dodom. Overnight – camping – Dodom

Day9: the Eternal fire of Arte Ale, Active Volcano Lake

Morning; Trek to Arte Ale with your camping and cooking gears being loaded by Afar Camels (3-4hrs trek). After lunch, explore the extraordinary lava that bounce from its mouth of Arte Ale volcanic fire. During night time the volcano will be fully seen with its magnificent color of zigzagging fire, produced from huge rocks. Therefore; in the evening, descend from your Camping site to the drama of the volcano.  Overnight – camping – on the summit of Arte Ale

Day10: Hammed Ela.

Trek down to Dodom and drive to Hammed Ela. Overnight – under the Afar Village – Hammed Ela

Day11:  Dallol Depression and Lake Asalé

Early morning; excursion to the Danakil depression. On this day; surely, you will be overwhelmed with a strong feeling of admiration, because of the awesome of Dallol. After Dallol; proceed to the traditional salt extraction site from where too many camels are waiting to be loaded rock salts just nearby the Salt Lake of Asalé. Then approach to Lake Asalé. Late afternoon (when temperature cools down), explore the Afar village of Hammed Ela. Overnight – camping (at Afar House) – Hammed Ela

Day12: Hammed Ela – Mekelle

We drive from Hammed Ela to Mekelle. On the way, you will discover too many camel caravans, transporting rock salt from Lake Asalé to the town of Mekelle at many spots. Overnight – at chosen hotel –Mekelle

Day13: –Mekelle – Geralta oldest Rock Churches – Hawzen

Drive from Mekelle to Geralta Rock Churches built in 6th century and on wards. On the way, visit Wukro Cherkos, Abraha we Atsbeha, Debre Tsion, Dugum / Dugem Silassie Churches. Overnight – at chosen hotel /lodge– Hawzen

Day14: Hawzen – Axum. Drive from Geralta Lodge to Axum

On the way, visit The Debre Damo Monastery (you need to climb the hill with a rope provided by a monk. Debre Damo monastery is a fabulous monastery so every tourist wishes not to miss this site. Women are not allowed to get in), Yeha Temple .Overnight – at chosen hotel – Axum

Day15: the birth Place of Ethiopian History

A full day visit of the city – Axum. Axum treasures the ancient Ethiopian history. The attractions of Axum include: the archaeological museum, monolithic steles, the tombs of King Kaleb, and the legendary Bath and the ruins of ancient palace of the Queen of Sheba, St Mary of Zion and the sanctuary that houses the original Ark of the Covenant. Almost all  Ethiopian Orthodox Christians and some scholars believe firmly about the presence of the original Ark of God for centuries here in Axum,  at the chapel in the middle of St Mary of Zion and Emperor Fassiladas’ Castle of Axum. Visit also the monastery of Abba Pantelion at the hill side of Axum (prohibited for women).  Overnight – at chosen hotel –Axum

Day16: Tekeze River and Simien Mountains National Park

After breakfast; drive from Axum to the Simien Mountains national Park (Chennek – base site). At Debark; we collect entrance tickets and a scout for the park. Leaving the town of Debark, we will proceed to Chennek (about 57km from Debark).  On the way; appreciate the majestic and chained mountains of the Simien Park and Gelada baboons feeding on the ground at many places. At Chennek, walk around for Walia Ibexes, more Gelada Baboons and the fabulous landscapes of the mountain (please note that the camping site of Chennek is the most rewarding place in the Mountain). Overnight- tented camp – Chennek

Day17: Simien National Park & Gondar Castles

After breakfast; rediscover the mountain, even walking until the peak mountain of Buayt (4430m) and drive to Gondar. On the way near the town of Gondar; short visit of Woleka – a place of the Felasha or the black Jewish people for their synagogue and black pottery shop. Jews have amazing histories in Ethiopia even before the time of Gonderine Civilization (17-19century).The history of the Original Ark of the Covenant, supposed to be in Axum now is one to mention. Overnight – at chosen hotel – Gondar

Day18: Wanzaye Natural hot Spring site – Bahir Dar

After breakfast; drive to Bahir Dar (187km best asphalt road.) on the way; Wanzaye, a place for natural hot spring water (9kms from the main route to Bahir Dar). It is very important for the local people (a curing spa against some diseases).People will immerse into the hot spring bath (a big room that accommodates from 40 to 80 people together) for about 6 hours (3 hours morning and 3hours afternoon) per day. In doing so, the patient will be cured or will have seen changes from his disease within a weak. Lunch, at Wanzaye Hotel and drive to Bahir Dar. Visit the Bezawit Hill tops and the palace of Emperor Haile SellassieI (entering is prohibited). Overnight – at chosen hotel – Bahir Dar

Day19: The Tis Issat of the Blue Nile and Monasteries on Lake Tana

After breakfast; drive to the small town of Tiss Abay (32km rough road) to visit the impressive Blue Nile Falls, locally known as Tis Isat means in Amharic: ‘Smoke of Fire’. Much of the water is diverted for Hydro electric Generation plant but it is still worth visiting for remaining waterfalls, trekking around and to see a Portuguese Bridge (17Century) and the country side. The area around the waterfall is amazingly fertile and the Amhara people who live here farm wheat, sorghum and Teff (from which Injera, the national bread, is made). After the fall, return to Bahir Dar & make city tour of Bahir Dar which includes: market where you can find the pottery, traditional hand-made woven clothes, and Woito Basket market.

Afternoon; take a chartered boat trip on Lake Tana to visit monasteries (constructed during 14 up to 18 century). You will visit only the most accessible and representative of the monasteries on the lake, still serving their original function: Ura Kidane Mehret, and Azwa Maryam (in Zeghie Peninsula), Kibran Church (prohibited for women) & Entos Eyesus. Evening, visit the hill of Bezawit (roughly 5km after Gojjam – Gondar border Bridge). At this point, you are visit the Palace of Emperor Haile SellassieI( entering is prohibited), the source of the Blue Nile- leaving Lake Tana and panoramic view of Bahir Dar and the full  sunset. Overnight – at chosen hotel – Bahir Dar

Day20: Awra Amba – Lalibela

After breakfast; Drive from Bahir Dar to Lalibela, on the new asphalt road (Bahir Dar – Wereta – Debre Tabor – Weldeya – Lalibela road). On the way, visits Awra Amba village. Awra Amba community is famous in Villagers work activity. Overnight – at chosen hotel – Lalibela

Day21:  11 Churches of Lalibela, Asheten +

Early morning; climb to Asheten Mountain for a panoramic view of Lalibela, its rural area and Monolithic Church of Asheten Mariam (the first excavated church in Lalibela).  Then afternoon, visit the first group of six churches: 1.Bet Golgotha, 2.Bet Mikael, 3.Bet Mariam, 4.Bet Meskel, 5.Bet Danaghel and 6.Bet Medhane Alem. Bet Medhane Alem is the largest monolithic rock hewn church in the world, built like a Greek temple! In a corner there are three empty graves symbolically dug for biblical patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

After lunch and a short siesta, visit Second groups: 7.Bete Amanuel, 8.Bete Marqorewos, 9.Bete Abba Libanos, 10.Bete Gabriel -Rufael and11 Bet Giyorgis. Bet Giyorgis is the most elegant of all Lalibela churches, which lies somewhat isolated in the southwest part of the town on a sloping rock terrace. Drive for the cave church of Nakuto Làabe (5kms away from Lalibela). Overnight – at chosen hotel – Lalibela

Day22: Yimrahine Kristos amazing cave church

Drive to the cave church called Yimrahine Kristos (42 km from Lalibela). This Church has been constructed by King Yimrahine Kristos during the13th Century. In the church, there are more than 5000 (five thousand) dead human skeletons (Bones) lying without any coverage for the past 700 years. They are supposed to be pilgrimages from Syria, Egypt and Ethiopia. The murals on the dark walls of the church, the year round spring water descending from the top of the church and the forest around are very impressive and worthy to be visited.  Overnight – at chosen hotel – Lalibela

Day23: Lalibela –Kombolcha. Drive from Lalibela to Kombolcha.  (325km)

This route is scenic. Photo stops for landscapes and visit the monasteries of Lake Haike which is just nearby the town of Dessie. Overnight – at chosen hotel – Kombolcha

Day24:  Senbete Market

After breakfast; drive from Kombolcha to Senbete (113km from Kombolcha) on  every Sunday Market in which Oromo, Afar, Amhara and other tribes to be seen together. Overnight – at chosen hotel – Kombolcha

Day25:  Bati Market, Old palace of Emperor MenelikII at Ankober

Morning, drive to the town of Bati (about 40km from Kombolcha).  The market will be full at 11am local time for it is hot town.  The market is unique with Amhara, Oromo & Afar tribes with their traditional wearing style. Camel and other live stokes make the market so colorful and worthy to be here. Dive back to Kombolcha and then, proceed to Ankober – 40km from Debre Birhan (based on the time left) and visit the old palace of Emperor MenelikII. On the way, you will also overlook the old tunnels made by Italians during the Occupation period (1936-1941AD). Overnight – at chosen hotel – Addis Ababa

Day26: Departure

Based on your departure time, today will be your takeoff for departure (end of the tour)

Notice: This itinerary can be amended up on request 

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